BLACKSBURG, Va. – Despite a strong first-half effort from the attack, the Virginia Tech lacrosse team was unable to overcome the high-power offense of the No. 3 North Carolina Tar Heels, falling 18-11 at Thompson Field Saturday afternoon. Senior Brooke Martin led the Hokies with three goals, as seven different players scored for Tech. Kara Cannizzaro and Jessica Griffin paced the Heels with four scores apiece.
The 11 Tech (6-5, 0-3 ACC) goals matched the most allowed by the Tar Heels (11-1, 4-0 ACC) in a game this season, only No. 6 Duke, Boston College and No. 8 Georgetown have done the same to a defense that only allowed 7.84 scores per outing heading into the Tech game.
North Carolina was the first to score in the game when Aly Messinger put away a free position shot 30 seconds into the game. The Hokies were not bothered by the quick goal and Libby Rosebro got Tech on the board less than a minute later when her shot from just inside the 8-meter line was knocked down by Tar Heel goalie Lauren Maksym but rolled into the cage and over the goal line.
It was Rosebro again, minutes later, when she gave Tech its first lead of the day after sailing a free position attempt past Maksym.
North Carolina responded with a pair of goals to regain its early lead, but Martin sparked the Hokies with back-to-back goals. Kelly Naslonski kept things going when Meg Bartley found her from behind the goal to flick in the up-close shot. Naslonski returned the favor as the clocked ticked under the midway point in the first half, as she found a crashing Bartley from behind the cage to put the Hokies up 6-3 and force a North Carolina timeout.
The Tar Heels responded after the regrouping and strung together a six-goal rally to take back the lead. Jack Boissonneault buried a free position attempt with just under two minutes until the break to keep the Hokies close as North Carolina led just 9-7 at the half.
The Tar Heels outshot Tech 17-12 in the opening half, but Tech stayed close only trailing 7-6 on ground balls and 9-8 on the draw.
North Carolina maintained the momentum in the second half, beginning the new period with a 6-1 run to distance itself. Back-to-back goals from Maddy Hess and Naslonski, both assisted by Julia Heaps, helped the Hokies keep things close but the damage was already done.
Naslonski finished the game with three points, while Bartley stayed aggressive for Tech on the draw, finishing the game with eight. The Tar Heels out shot Tech 36-24 in the game, and just barely kept the draws edge, 16-15.
Senior Alex Gale played the full game and finished the game matching her season-best of 12 saves. Maksym got the win and made five saves in the first half. She was replaced at the start of the second half by Megan Ward, who made seven in the game.
Tech will hit the road this week for its first midweek game in three weeks, traveling to nearby Liberty for a 4 p.m. game.
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